African legal body defies the vultures

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  • "Indebted countries cannot afford to hire the same quality of lawyers as the vulture funds can".
    Interesting. Is this a suggestion that national lawyers in Africa are substandard in comparison to their UK equivalents? Perhaps the Law Society is right to consider amendments to the Transfer Test..

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  • Read the article anonymous 5:07 pm. Some of the cases / Most of them in fact are brought before US or UK courts which makes law firms from those juridictions more equipped to fight against those claims in their home turf ...

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  • This would actually level the playing field and may in time make this asset class not as lucrative for funds and their counterparts / allies in Africa ...

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  • Well written and very fair assesment of the vulture funds activities ...

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  • I fail to see what this has to do with the Transfer Test. These cases are often complex, involving complex transactions and mostly governed by a law (English or NY) other than the law of the host state. So, just because many national lawyers cannot handle these cases does not make them substandard; nor are high street lawyers in the UK who are also not equipped to handle these type of cases sub-standard either.

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  • The figure cited of $1.2 bn is five years old. Yesterday's news. All of those cases have been settled. Current litigation against SILIC's is primarily brought by original creditors who got stiffed, not investment funds. The funding being spent to assist debtor countries fight inevitable judgments on debts they properly owe is misguided and misspent... It is welfare for big law firms. Zambia was billed several million, all of which went to large UK law firms. The ADB would be much better off just funding legal training for legal staff at government ministries in Africa. And the debtor governments would be much better advised to settle with their creditors (original or otherwise) in local currency for investment quickly and at the steepest discount possible...

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  • The case report for Donegal v Zambia [2007] EWHC 197 (Comm) is here:
    http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Comm/2007/197.html&query=donegal+and+zambia&method=boolean.
    Zambia was represented by DLA Piper, and a team of *five* Counsel headed by William Blair QC (now Blair J) at the height of his eminence as a leading commercial Silk.
    A rather one-sided article methinks.

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  • Is that the sound of cynical laughter I hear? Allen & Overy making a nice little earner suing the Zambian people....whatever next? I knew all this talk from A&O about being a 'nice' firm was just cheesey PR - but, wow, this really shows how cynical a firm can be - sending out press releases about pro bono and community projects, but attacking poor countries for the meanest of all businesses. Not as if A&O partners really needed to take on such a job to feed their kids - I mean, this was at the peak of 2007 when this case came to court - hardly a period when A&O was short of work - yet it seems they still jumped at this one. So much for corporate responsibility. Excellent to see what a former A&O lawyer is now doing to help African countries to address this imbalance.

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